After an accident, any injuries you sustained can create severe disruption to your daily life.
In addition to focusing on your physical recovery, you may feel overwhelmed and frustrated by your mounting medical expenses and an inability to work.
You may feel relieved when your attorney obtains a favorable settlement on your behalf. But, you may wonder, do you have to pay your medical bills from a personal injury settlement?
Understanding what and how much you have to pay back depends on various factors and requires a discussion with your injury attorney.
Do I Have to Pay Back Medical Bills?
Most injuries suffered in an accident require medical attention.
If you sustained more severe injuries, extensive medical services are often used, including hospital visits.
Due to your injuries, you may be unable to work and pay off these expenses as they arise. While many of these costs may not be due upfront, they must be paid back eventually.
Medical bills generally are paid in the following ways:
- Health insurance. Usually, an injury victim’s health insurance provider pays for all medical and surgical expenses related to their injuries. These insurance providers expect you to pay back medical costs where a third party is determined to be at fault, and you subsequently receive a settlement. If Medicaid or Medicare paid your medical bills in advance of you receiving a settlement, they might request reimbursement of these medical costs.
- Car insurance. If car insurance paid your medical costs, your insurance will likely expect you to reimburse these costs if you receive a settlement for your medical expenses.
- Workers’ compensation. If you receive workers’ compensation for medical bills, you will most likely need to pay back these amounts if you later receive a settlement for your medical expenses.
- Insurance subrogation. These claims represent situations where health insurance companies request reimbursement for bills they paid related to your accident.
- Third-party insurance carrier. When a third party is at fault for your injuries, you may qualify for coverage of your medical expenses by their carrier. You usually will not need to pay back these covered expenses as they are typically received as a settlement or judgment in court.
As you can imagine, the process becomes complicated with all the different parties involved, especially as negotiations among the healthcare providers, insurance companies, and at-fault parties come into play.
It is wise to speak with your personal injury attorney to determine who paid your medical expenses and how this may affect your settlement.
What If My Medical Bills Are More Than My Settlement?
Hospitals or doctors may place a medical lien against any settlement award to ensure they receive repayment of any expenses.
Medical liens must be paid back using settlement funds or judgment awards.
While most medical liens are paid automatically out of settlement awards, your attorney may attempt to negotiate a reduction in these balances.
Additionally, your medical bills may amount to more than any awarded settlement in certain circumstances.
When this occurs, your personal injury attorney works at negotiating your medical bills after a settlement to get these outstanding balances reduced.
However, any outstanding sums not covered by your settlement are generally your responsibility to pay back.
The possibility of your medical bills exceeding your settlement is the main reason that most people retain an attorney when involved in a serious accident resulting in injuries.
An experienced attorney will help make sure that your settlement covers your expenses.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today
With nearly a century of combined experience, the attorneys at the Zimmerman Law Firm P.C. fight for our wrongfully injured clients and work zealously to recover the compensation they deserve.
We put our resources and knowledge to work for you. We understand that you may have a lot of questions.
We will be here for you every step of the way, handling everything so you can focus on your recovery.
Contact our office today for a free case evaluation with one of our injury attorneys.